One of the better 7on7 tournaments in Southern California each year is the Bonita Air Assault, held at Bonita HS in La Verne.
This year, Chino Hills knocked off Valencia in the finals of the event, with Fontana Kaiser and Los Angeles Loyola the other two semifinalists.
Scout.com was there for Day One of the action, and here is a breakdown of the players we got a chance to see. With 12 games going on simultaneously, it was difficult to see every player, but here are some of the players who stood out.
The best performer we saw was Chino Hills (Calif.) cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. The versatile Olomu would switch between safety and corner during the first day and also played running back and receiver for the Huskies. Ekpre-Olomu has continued his strong spring, following performances at the Badger 7on7 and NFTC in Los Angeles and showed why he's one of the top three cornerbacks in the West.
Interestingly, though, probably the best play we say Ekpre-Olomu make on Friday was a grab in traffic, while playing offense, against Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame. It was waved off for time, but it showed the athleticism and jumping ability that Ekpre-Olomu boasts.
He was a big reason why the Huskies won the tournament title.
The Chino Hills-Notre Dame game was one of the more entertaining games in pool play, with the Knights winning against Chino Hills. Notre Dame rotated quarterbacks, but it gave us a chance to see 2013 prospect Kelly Hilinski, who's expected to be one of the top passers in his class. Hilinski still has a little bit of a robotic throwing motion, but he's got a good arm, with good accuracy. Hilinski has ideal height for a quarterback, but needs to add weight. He'll have three years, though, to do that before college.
Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola quarterback Jerry Neuheisel looked good for the most part on Friday. He and 2012 receiver Kodi Whitfield formed a pretty good duo, and Whitfield figures to be Neuheisel's favorite target in 2010. Both have famous fathers, Jerry the son of UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel and Whitfield the son of former NFL All-Pro tackle Bob Whitfield, and you can tell they both have a high football I.Q. Whitfield will be one of 2012's top receiver prospects. He's got good height with long arms, but is still a bit slight. But with his father being an NFL tackle, we don't think putting on weight should be a huge issue for him. He's a very smooth route runner, good speed and very soft hands.
Neuheisel has looked good throughout the spring when we've seen him in passing tournaments. He's got good touch on his throws, and does a good job spreading his passes around. He was plagued, though, by some drops from his receivers, and a couple of well-thrown balls were muffed by his receivers and into the arms of defensive backs.
Another entertaining game was the one Loyola played Upland in. While Neuheisel and Whitfield were leading Loyola, Upland would counter with quarterback Justin Nunes, who showed some great downfield zip and throws, mainly to another 2012 receiver prospect, Kenny Lawler, who first caught our eye at the Los Angeles NFTC in April. Lawler is similar to Whitfield in body type, tall and long but skinny, but like Whitfield, he too still has two more years to grow. Nunes doesn't have his brother Josh Nunes' size (who's now at Stanford), but he's got similar moxie to his brother.
One other prospect for Loyola who stood out was running back Jared Baker, who's committed to Arizona. Baker took over for Anthony Barr when Barr was injured a year ago, and showed pretty good hands out of the backfield.
Arguably the most physically impressive there was Corona (Calif.) Roosevelt's Sam Boyd, a player we first saw at the Los Angeles NFTC. Boyd goes about 6-2, 230-pounds, and plays receiver and safety for the Mustangs. He played almost solely on offense during the 7on7. He's got good athleticism and quickness, but with his size, looks like an ideal outside linebacker or rover at the next level, and his hands are just ok, making defense a more likely destination for him.
Culver City (Calif.) athlete Chris Brown is one of the Centaurs top prospects in 2010. While a little undersized, Brown makes up for it with good hips, coverage awareness and tremendous ball skills. He's got quick, active hands and does a nice job of breaking on the ball.
Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser had a very strong opening day and it's got a handful of prospects defensively who impressed us. The player who impressed us the most was Kendrick Haynes, a receiver/cornerback/quarterback. Haynes had a couple of wide-open touchdowns, where he just blew by the corner and got into the open field. He's smooth and elusive. He just needs to bring the effort more consistently.
The first pass we saw thrown against Kaiser in their third game was intercepted by safety Desman Carter. He has good size and good agility, and we think he'll end up with some offers before too long. It wouldn't surprise us if Carter ended up playing outside linebacker in college.
One of the more active players was linebacker Dennis Taylor, who's been solid each time we've seen him this spring. He's another guy we think could get an offer or two with a big senior year.
While his height isn't ideal, Dwayne Brown has some good athleticism and we think cornerback is where he's destined in college. His consistency catching the ball wasn't great, when he played receiver, but he had some nice defensive plays, including a great read and pick.
After Boyd, the other most physically impressive player we saw was Walnut (Calif.) athlete Aubrey Coleman, who's committed to Washington. On the hoof, Coleman is pretty much unmatched. Receiver-wise, he seemed to catch the ball with his chest more than with his hands and is still a bit stiff coming off the line. Defensively, though, is where we think he ends up, as a strongside backer or defensive end in college. The ball wasn't thrown to his side much, but he's pretty good in pursuit, particularly when the ball was thrown short to the backs or tight end.